NJ Coaches Offer Endorsement of Flood

Kyle Flood will be the next Rutgers football coach. Reaching an agreement today with athletic director Tim Pernetti, Flood is already being received with enthusiasm by some of the top high school coaches within the Rutgers recruiting zone.

The initial reaction to Kyle Flood becoming Rutgers coach, other than surprise at the quick timing after Mario Cristobal talks broke down, is that of excitement among most New Jersey coaches.

Flood has been at Rutgers for seven years and has some form of a relationship with most coaches in the area, particularly with coaches close by like Piscataway coach Dan Higgins.

Higgins has two players on the Rutgers roster and sent NFL first round draft pick Anthony Davis to learn under Flood for three seasons.

"I would feel very comfortable sending my kids to play for Coach Flood," Higgins said. "Look what he did for AD (Anthony Davis)."

The position coach for freshman offensive lineman Keith Lumpkin this year, Flood also has the endorsement of St. Peters Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) coach Rich Hansen. Hansen, in addition to Lumpkin, sent Savon Huggins to Rutgers last year and coached Michael Giacone this year, who is a soft verbal after the departure of Greg Schiano.

"Kyle was part of the building process," Hansen said. "He helped build the program, and he helped build the reputation of the program. He knows the coaches and he doesn't need a map to navigate the state. From that perspective it's a great hire, and it's also going to make the transition run a lot more smoothly and a lot easier for most of the Rutgers players, and that's just as important, if not the most important thing."

Montclair (N.J.) head coach John Fiore, who has Julian Pinnix-Odrick softly committed to Rutgers and Aubrey Lewis set to walk on, said he feels completely comfortable with Flood in charge.

"I've known Kyle Flood for a long time and he's a great choice for Rutgers and I think he's going to do a great job," Fiore said. "Kyle, 10 years ago, got me a job interview at Hofstra and I didn't take it at the time. You can't go wrong by hiring Kyle Flood and I think he'll retain most, if not all, of their recruits and I'm assuming he'll return all of the O-linemen. ... Kyle Flood has my full endorsement."

Anthony Campenile, a former Rutgers player and Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) coordinator, has a strong relationship with Flood and reacted positively to the news when he found out.

"He has been a staple for a long time in New Jersey," Campenile said. "He's a tremendous coach and a great teacher. He's a very intelligent person and he has a great way of dealing with people. All our kids like him and he's a northeast guy and loves the area. Everybody really likes him."

Campenile keeps close relationships with Rutgers freshmen Gary Nova and Paul Canevari, verbal commit Leonte Carroo and top prospect Darius Hamilton.

Campenile's brother and head coach of Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N,.J.), Nunzio Campenile also met the news with enthusiasm.

"I think he's a great guy, high character, and very well respected by all the coaches in state and kids like him a lot," he said. "Before Jeff Hafley got to Rutgers, he recruited the catholic school in Bergen Catholic, so I had a lot of dealings with him."

Linden (N.J.) coach Deon Candia said he would be comfortable with any of the candidates for the Rutgers coaching job, but that he likes hiring from within.

"I definitely feel comfortable sending [Ruhann Peele] to Rutgers. With Ruhann and his family, we definitely like Rutgers regardless, but I just think Coach Flood is adding some security to what we believe and some stability. We don't have to worry about things changing once we get there. It's a secure move."

Not all New Jersey coaches are 100 percent sold on Flood yet, however. At Timber Creek (Erial, N.J.), one of the top programs in South Jersey, head coach Rob Hinson is unsure of the hire after Mario Cristobal fell out of the race.

"It's kind of weird because if they were going to hire him, he's been here all along," Hinson said. "I'm not really sure what it says, but I guess we'll see. ... When You hire a guy you already have, it looks good to keep the assistants around, which will help keep the recruiting class intact."

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